Pickles & Gastritis

Gastritis commonly refers to irritation or inflammation of the stomach lining. Diet can make this medical condition worse. Spicy and highly acidic foods increase the production of stomach acids, irritating the mucus lining of the stomach.

If you suffer from gastritis, you may want to hold off on eating pickles until your inflammation has healed. (Image: OlgaLepeshkina/iStock/Getty Images)

If you suffer from gastritis, you should avoid eating foods like pickles, which can irritate your stomach. Although gastritis symptoms often improve with treatment and dietary changes, chronic gastritis can lead to more serious health issues.

Symptoms of Gastritis

Acids in the stomach that help digest food can irritate or damage the stomach lining. When this happens, gastritis symptoms occur. Common symptoms of gastritis include loss of appetite, indigestion, bloating and abdominal pain.

Other symptoms include vomiting and stomach cramps after eating. Gastritis can also cause constipation and diarrhea in some people. These symptoms may last only a few days, or linger for months.

Avoid trigger foods and eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. The release of less acid helps to relieve pain and gives your stomach lining time to heal.

Too Much Stomach Acid

Although any food or beverage you consume causes your stomach to secrete acid to aid in digestion, some foods may be especially irritating to the stomach. If you are prone to stomach problems, avoid pickles and other irritating foods to prevent the further irritation of your gastric inflammation.

In addition to acidic and spicy foods, you also want to limit or avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine, such as cola and coffee. Foods that are high in fat also take longer to leave your stomach and may increase acidic irritation of your tender gastric lining.

Follow a Gastritis Diet

With gastritis, restrict the amount of salt and salty foods in your diet. Salt can irritate the lining of your stomach. Most pickles have high sodium content.

Avoid seasonings including garlic, cayenne and curry. Red peppers, hot chili peppers, sour foods and spices such as cinnamon and cloves can cause stomach upset as well. Sweet pickles, which have lower sodium content, are still highly acidic and therefore should be avoided.

Eat foods that digest easily and cause your stomach to secrete less acid. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains high in fiber are smart food choices for gastritis, as are low or nonfat dairy products.

H. pylori Bacterium

Onions, salt, vinegar and spices are the basic ingredients for pickling cucumbers and are also some of the foods that can irritate your stomach lining. In particular, vinegar has highly acidic properties. When pickling cucumbers, bacteria digest the sugar in the cucumbers during fermentation. The production of lactic acid during this process is what gives pickles their sour taste.

Although lactic acid actually kills harmful bacteria, including the H. pylori bacterium in the digestive tract, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Sometimes a combination of antibiotics is necessary to treat H. pylori infection — a common cause of gastritis. Inflammation results when these bacteria irritate the mucus layer of the stomach lining.

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